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Script Comp

C4 targets youth with $13m for E4

UK commercial pubcaster Channel 4 (C4) is to invest £10m (US$13.5m) in its youth-skewing network E4 and has unveiled its first slate of commissions under new director of programmes Ian Katz.

Ian Katz

The new content is headlined by political drama Brexit starring Benedict Cumberbatch as it ushers in an era of risk-taking under Katz, who replaced former chief creative officer Jay Hunt in October.

Brexit (working title) centres on the campaign to take the UK out of the European Union and was written by playwright James Graham and produced by House Productions. The series was commissioned by Beth Willis, head of drama at C4, and will begin shooting later this year.

Also unveiled was a raft of programming intended to “dial up the difference” by targeting younger viewers and focusing on C4’s digital offering in an increasingly cluttered content landscape.

The Circle is factual entertainment show from Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group ordered by C4 deputy director of programmes Kelly Webb-Lamb and factual entertainment commissioning editor Gilly Greenslade. It explores themes of modern identity and how society communicates through the channels of social media.

Kathy Burke: All Woman (working title, 3×60’) sees the comedian explore themes around being female. It was commissioned by Lucy Leveugle, acting head of factual entertainment at C4, and will be overseen by Sarah Lazenby, commissioning editor for factual entertainment. The series is produced by Flicker Productions.

Katz also announced C4 will open up its 22.00 and 23.00 slots to reflect diversity and difference through creativity. He called for producers to submit their “outlandish ideas” and announced the first show under the stategy.

The Big Narstie Show (wt) is a studio entertainment series hosted by rapper Big Narstie and was ordered by Ed Havard, head of entertainment, with Syeda Irtizaali, commissioning editor, entertainment and events, and Shaminder Nahal, commissioning editor for specialist factual. It is a coproduction from Expectation and Dice Productions.

Futureproof (3×60’) is written and fronted by presenter Jamali Maddix and sees him meet some of the UK’s most interesting characters in the digital age. Acme Films is handling production.

Maxxx (6×30’) is a comedy from Luti Media following a former boyband star as he attempts to make a comeback after being shamed in the tabloids as a drug user. The series was commissioned by Fiona McDermott, head of comedy, and Rachel Springett, commissioning editor.

Happy AF (working title) is a comedy about the pursuit of happiness from writer Aisling Bea and prodco Merman. It was commissioned by McDermott and Jack Bayles, commissioning editor.

Two pilots have also been ordered by the broadcaster as part of its experimental approach to late-night viewing.

Next Week’s News (1×45’) features Deborah Frances-White, the comedian and writer behind comedy podcast The Guilty Feminist, as host. It was ordered by Irtizaali and is another Merman production.

The second pilot is Antisocial Media (1×30’), a topical comedy from Electric Ray with Mother’s Best Child that puts a subversive twist on the major events of the week. It was commissioned by Ed Havard, head of entertainment, Irtizaali and Josh Buckingham, commissioning editor for All4 and entertainment.

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